Live ATC on your BlackBerry

bb-8320thumbnail-liveatcI have a confession to make — I love to listen to Air Traffic Control (ATC), even if I’m not in the cockpit. Sometimes driving to work, I will visualize/audibilize communications to ATC as if I were in the air. (It’s also a big hit with my 3 year old). Enough of my personal issues — with the release of BlackBerry OS 4.3/4.5 and higher, it is now possible to listen to live ATC on your BlackBerry as long as you have some type of data service/coverage (EDGE/WiFi/3G, Even GPRS/1XRTT will work).

I have a BlackBerry Bold 9700 running BlackBerry OS v5.0 with T-Mobile so my instructions will be specific for T-Mobile users, however, I’m sure it will work with other carriers and newer BlackBerry OS releases as well, however, the procedure might need to be tweaked slightly. Let me know if you find something that differs on your model.

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Sporty’s Releases DVD on Modern Autopilots

Pilot's Guide to Modern AutopilotsIn early March, I was excited to learn about a new course from Sporty’s that focuses on modern autopilots. I finally got a chance to watch the video and share some of my thoughts.

The new Sporty’s video short course titled Pilot’s Guide to Modern Autopilots highlights some of the differences, and similarities, of both the Garmin GFC-700 and the S-Tec 55X; two of the most popular autopilots in airplanes today. Continue reading

AOPA obtains radar video of F-16’s close call with GA aircraft

The July 11 edition of AOPA ePilot had an article indicating that AOPA was able to obtain the radar data and voice communications of a March 21st incident involving an F-16 pilot flying in close formation with the pilots of a Pilatus PC-12 and a Beechcraft Premier jet.

The GA aircraft were flying through an active military operations area (MOA); however, center controllers had no method to communicate with military controllers in real time.

Besides the fact that this F-16 pilot did something completely dangerous, there is a major opportunity for improvement in ATC communications here. Is anyone else surprised that the ARTCC was not able to talk directly to controllers for these military aircraft?!? I fully support AOPA’s recommendation for the FAA to develop a method for center controllers to communicate with military controllers in real time.

Take a look at the video as the radar echos show on up on top of each other. The radio traffic playing while the radar echos paint will send chills down your back!

Be safe out there folks!

Update to Logbook Pro application on horizon

Logbook ProThis weekend I was taking a look at the latest Logbook Pro Newsletter from NC Software, Inc. and it looks like the gang has a major overhaul in the works for its popular electronic logbook software — just not for another year. The newsletter states that the public beta is not targeted for release until late 2008.

Read all the details after the jump… Continue reading

Garmin wins over last major G1000 holdout

According to a post on AOPA’s Pilot Blog, Olathe, KS based Garmin has finally won over the last big hold out in the certified aircraft market — Cirrus Design.

According to the post by Tom Haines, the G1000 (Perspective Option) does have some unique to Cirrus (for now) features including: Impressively large dual 12-inch displays, Garmin’s recently announced synthetic vision technology (SVT) and several crew alerting messages.

Another cool little feature Tom mentioned is: “…a blue “LVL” button on the GFC 700 autopilot mode controller. The LVL button is a pilot’s get-out-of-jail-free card when things are starting to go bad. Simply push the LVL button and no matter what mode the autopilot is in or even if it is off, the autopilot will roll the wings level and hold altitude.”

Synthetic Vision for Garmin G1000

I am a little bit late to post on this, but according to the April 8th AOPA ePilot, Garmin has announced Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) for their G1000 platform. SVT will allow for a 3D view of of terrain as you would see it on a VFR day. The best part? It is just a software upgrade, no additional hardware is required — a rare find in the world of avionics.

AOPA has posted a First Look video clip here. Of local Kansas City Interest, note the sample approach in the video is an approach into Lawrence, Kansas (KLWC).

Enjoy the show…try to keep the drool off the keyboard.